This summer, the Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative conducted a survey of area entrepreneurs and stakeholders asking for ways to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greater Pensacola and Escambia County. The responses have indicated that many entrepreneurs believe that mentorship is among our chief needs in Pensacola.
With that in mind, we have elected to make the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service mentoring model available to Greater Pensacola’s Entrepreneurs. MIT’s program, which has a specific focus on mentorship for entrepreneurs, has been implemented in 97 communities including Venture Asheville, N.C. whose program we visited.
The MIT Venture Mentoring Service takes a team mentoring approach with groups of mentors sitting with the entrepreneur(s) to provide practical, day-to-day business advice and coaching. It utilizes a strict code of ethics to assure objective, conflict-free and confidential coaching and employs best practices for recruiting, training and retaining a community of highly qualified and committed volunteer mentors.
For the first step, we will join with representatives from our three program partners: The Studer Community Institute, FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance, The University of West Florida Center for Entrepreneurship, The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce for a 2 1⁄2-day training session in Cambridge, Mass. November 19-21.
Later, MIT VMS representatives will come to Pensacola to train our local mentors on best practices as well as speak to our community about the power of entrepreneurial mentorship. It is our plan to launch the program in Spring 2020 with a CivicCon featuring a guest from the program at MIT.
Those interested in receiving updates from the Pensacola Entrepreneur Initiative, or sharing their thoughts, should contact D.C. Reeves at firstname.lastname@example.org.